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Don’t let the big boys shoot you down

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in Leaders & Managers,Profiles in Leadership

In 1984, a young game-designer invented a military-style computer game whose object was blowing stuff up.

From that game, Will Wright realized that the design tool he used to simulate factories was a game in itself, and he started playing around with a new program in which you could build a city from scratch.

Based on urban design, your customized city might fall prey to slums or too little industry or too much traffic. If you were lucky and very, very skilled, your city might flourish.

Big companies couldn’t see the point of a game in which nobody “wins,” so Wright joined with two partners and self-published SimCity in 1989.

Within a year, the game was a monster hit and spun off several sequels, not to mention a whole category of “sandbox” programs in which players go off on explorations instead of competing and winning or losing.

The first leader of modern game design, Wright has never looked back.

In 2000, he launched The Sims, in which players control simulated people. That little number has become the hottest computer game ever, selling somewhere north of 15 million copies.

Bottom line: Don’t let the big boys shoot down an idea just because it’s new and weird. Another word for “new weirdness” is innovation.

— Adapted from “They Can Teach You How to Build an Empire,” Mental Floss.

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